• Taste of Cherry

    Taste of Cherry

    ★★★★★

    Perhaps the only film that can successfully venture into the undefinable, like the greatest works of art - this is Kiarostami staring directly into the void. Shot-reverse shot as the ultimate axiom, a series of dichomities between driver and passenger, the reasons to die and the reasons to live, ones relationship to themselves and their relationship to the world, what's been taken from you and what's in front of you, the emotions we cling to to preserve our own sense…

  • Badlands

    Badlands

    ★★★★½

    Almost impossible to watch on its own terms having already known Malick's later work, not least because this so ruthlessly critiques the romanticism that he will later on lean into. But even then there's more here than meets the eye just on that level: while it lacks the grandiose poetic sensibility of his later work this is probably the closest Malick ever got to real psychological depth - Martin Sheen's Kit, despicable as he may be, is still perhaps the…

  • Zeros and Ones

    Zeros and Ones

    ★★★★

    When I spoke to Ferrara this past summer, I asked him about his feelings towards contemporary technology. He replied "You use it right and use it righteously, it’s fucking awesome. You can sit around gambling all your money away on fucking card apps and porn sites, but you can also build bombs and download how-to stuff for that. It depends on how you use it. For me, it’s great." It's a neat little indication where Ferrara is headed with this…

  • A Countess From Hong Kong

    A Countess From Hong Kong

    ★★★★★

    Romanticism & truth. Lots to take in: Brando - and it should be obvious - is the closest we ever get to the private Chaplin, and he himself freely admitted that the film was inspired by his own travels in the 1930s. While there's all sorts of threads to follow with this film (and this is a refreshingly philosophical romanticism rather than an intoxicating one) what's sticks in the mind after this latest (of how many I don't even know at…

  • Scarface

    Scarface

    ★★★★★

    My favorite of Howard Hawks's films: ruthless and cooly unsentimental, and even if I still give the edge to the De Palma remake it's just in personal preference - as Paul Muni's Tony rises up the ranks he rises in society as well, his crude brutishness and obsession with power at all costs only highlights the feudalism that lies at the true heart of American culture.

  • Cry Macho

    Cry Macho

    ★★½

    Clint Eastwood manages the task of directing, producing and starring in a film at the tender age of 91 years old by simply sleepwalking through the film. And yet? There are moments of beauty

  • Cliff Walkers

    Cliff Walkers

    ★★★★

    Not that I didn't already like this film, but in revisiting it I actually think it's maybe one of Zhang's best - and not because Zhang actually seems politically committed for once, but on rewatching it, since one knows the dynamics that will play out, the suspense sequences becomes these sort of mini-spectacles of cleverness: you get a bit of appreciation for how well planned out the whole operation in the film really is. They even have seemingly endless contingency…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★½

    Villeneuve sticks pretty closely to the novel so no real point in getting into thematic areas in writing about Dune: Part One, since those elements have been discussed thousands of times. But splitting the first novel of the series into two parts is a clever gambit - it allows this film to be virtually plotless for its first half, allowing the film to become little more than an accumulation of details and information about these worlds, the ecosystems within them,…

  • Kanye With Special Guest Drake Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert

    Kanye With Special Guest Drake Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert

    ★★★★★

    With a concert movie, the performances and songs matter the most, not the director. And notwithstanding that this was actually live-stream (abit simultaneously streamed to both Twitch and IMAX theatres, which is a utterly genius idea), nor that this falls on utterly magnificent composition after composition virtually by accident (Kanye's resources are seemingly infinite at this point - photo from the control room showed 21 cameras going at once), nor that the set design is ingenious, nor that it abandons…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★½

    "Everybody want world peace
    'Til your niece get shot in the dome-piece
    Then you go and buy your own piece
    Hopin' it'll help you find your own peace
    Bring light to what they don't see
    Auntie cryin' on the concrete
    Talkin' to dispatcher then the phone beep
    On the other line was the homies
    Told her that you ain't comin' home, see
    When she heard the news it hurt her bone-deep
    Caught with the rifle with the long reach
    Just…

  • Army of the Dead

    Army of the Dead

    ★★★

    Better and more interesting than I realized the first time, even if its slightness makes it incomparable to Snyder's *bigger* films. Which is ironic, given the budget of this thing neared $90 million - but at times this feels almost like Snyder's version of the kind of mid-late 2010s A24 genre piece debut feature that so many American directors today seem to have to need in order to get their careers off the ground - of course in this case…

  • A History of Violence

    A History of Violence

    ★★★★

    Canadian directs a simulation of American cinema